WASHINGTON (May 30, 2000) -- Latin music, a movie on Cuba and other expressions of Hispanic culture will mark Encuentro 2000: Many Faces in God's House, the U.S. bishops' jubilee year celebration slated for the Los Angeles Convention Center, July 6-9.
Encuentro, which is a gathering of U.S. Hispanic Catholics held every few years, for the Jubilee Year 2000 was expanded to include all racial and ethnic groups in the Church in the United States. The Hispanic community, which has seen tremendous growth in recent decades, agreed to host the event, the first of its kind in U.S. Church history.
"We're at a new place in time," said Bishop Arthur N. Tafoya of Pueblo, Colorado, chairman of the Bishops' Committee on Hispanics. "The Hispanic community is moving into leadership in the Church and with leadership comes the responsibility to reach out. We Hispanics know the experience and concerns of people who feel marginalized and who struggle to find a place in the nation. We also know that as members of the one Church we are united with people of other racial and ethnic backgrounds in the challenge of bringing the Gospel to people everywhere."
Encuentro 2000 will open with Latin music, including a performance by Los Camperos de Nati Cano, a renowned mariachi group that will perform a special tribute to Our Lady of Guadalupe. In addition, dances and music from countries and regions in Latin America and the Caribbean will be interspersed throughout the four-day gathering.
A number of shrines and prayer spaces will surround the plenary session hall. One shrine will honor the Virgin of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas. This image of the Virgin is revered among Catholics in Mexico, where she appeared in 1531 to Juan Diego, a poor Indian, who was declared Blessed in 1990 by Pope John Paul II.
An ethnic village created for Encuentro will include sets from several Latin American and Caribbean countries including Belize, Haiti, Bolivia, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica.
Several speakers of Hispanic background will address participants at the meeting which will be co-facilitated by Mercy Sister Maria Elena Gonzalez, president of the Mexican American Cultural Center in San Antonio. The keynote speakers include Mercy Sister Carolee Chanona, coordinator of Base Ecclesial Communities in the Diocese of Belize and Father Mario Vizcaíno, Southeast Pastoral Institute, Miami.
Other Hispanic speakers include Trinitarian Father Domingo Rodriguez; Mercy Sister Ana María Peneda, of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians in the United States; Roberto Pina, of the Mexican American Cultural Center; Msgr. Arturo Bañuelas, director of the Tepeyac Institute, of the Diocese of El Paso, Texas; and Bishop Raymundo J. Peña of Brownsville, Texas.
Other speakers include Hector Rodriguez, of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and President of Buena Vista; Bishop Ricardo Ramirez of Las Cruces, New Mexico; Ana Maria Diaz Stephens, Union Theological Seminary; Ronaldo Cruz, National Conference of Catholic Bishops' Secretariat for Hispanic Affairs; Marianist Father Rudy Vela, of the Mexican American Cultural Center and Carlos Carrillo, Associate Director for Youth Ministry, Diocese of Yakima, Washington.
Other speakers include Esmerelda Cervantes, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Galveston-Houston, Texas; Sister of Charity Maria Louise Iglesias, Renew International; Jesuit Father Edmund Rodriguez, Immaculate Conception Church, Albuquerque.
A film festival sponsored by the Catholic Communication Campaign and the City of the Angels Film Festival will feature Buena Vista Social Club, a documentary about a group of aging Cuban musicians brought together by American guitarist Ry Cooder for a 1996 pop-music album that became an international hit. The film showcases the group's vibrant brand of swing music with a Latin beat while profiling each of the performers, whose ages range from the 70s to 90s but whose zestful spirits are youthful and full of energy.
Sponsors of Encuentro 2000 include Asociación Nacional de Diáconos Hispanos; Asociación Nacional de Sacerdotes Hispanos; Conference of Regional Directors for Hispanic Ministry; Cruzados de Santa Maria; Instituto Fe y Vida; Instituto de Liturgia Hispana; Las Hermanas, USA; Mexican American Cultural Center; National Catholic Association of Diocesan Directors of Hispanic Ministry; National Catholic Council for Hispanic Ministry; National Catholic Network de Pastoral Juevenil Hispana; and National Organization of Catechists for Hispanics and the Southeast Pastoral Institute.
Currently, about one-quarter of the Catholics in the United States trace their roots to continents other than Europe. Most of this group are Hispanics of Latin American background, and their presence extends from coast to coast. The largest numbers of Latinos are found in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, followed by the Archdioceses of Miami and New York, and the Diocese of Galveston, Houston, Texas. Other dioceses of California, Texas, and New York State also include large numbers of Hispanics, as does the Archdiocese of Chicago.
In the Class of 2000 ordination class, 12 percent of the ordinands identified themselves as Hispanic. The National Conference of Catholic Bishops has 24 Hispanic bishops among its 400 members.
Further information on Encuentro 2000 can be found on the Web at www.encuentro2000.org. Or by calling 202-541-3413.